Savage Love Podcast
Check out the all new Savage Lovecast site!
Got a question for Dan Savage?
Call the Savage Love Podcast at 206-201-2720
or email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Savage Love Archives
Sluts and Such
Your Sister's Keeper
More from Dan Savage
SLLOTD: Err on the Side of the Three-Way
Holiday Charity Challenge—Day Nine! Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Retake the Lead! Seattlish Nears Quadruple Digits!
The Pope Won't Judge—But People Who Work for Him Continue to Fire
Elton John Denounces Russian Anti-LGBT Laws During Performance in Moscow
Books by Dan Savage
- American Savage
- It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living
- The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family
- Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me
- Skipping Towards Gomorrah
- The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant
Want a Second Opinion?
Contact Dan Savage
December 10, 2009
I am a 23-year-old male who has been in a relationship with a great woman for four years now. She is an amazing person, and we oftentimes talk about marriage. The issue is this: I have a foot fetish and she is fully aware of it. She doesn't like the idea of me kissing her feet or indulging my fetish in any way. We have sex quite often, and I've always let it slide that she doesn't want any part of my fetish. I don't know what to do, because I'm at a stage in my sexual growth where I need to experience my fetish. I'm getting mixed advice from different people and I just want a straight answer. The sex we have is amazing, but I would enjoy it so much more if I could act on my desires once in a while.
Sexually Frustrated Fetishist
Here's a straight answer: Your amazing girlfriend is an amazingly selfish lover, and I'm amazed that you've put up with her bullshit for as long as you have. A foot fetish is not uncommon or outrageous; as fetishes go, SFF, yours is the least taxing for a nonkinky partner. It's not like you're into shit or choking or Christian side hugs. Any amazing woman who truly loved you would regard indulging you as a no-brainer.
Share time: I have a good friend who's not kinky at all—unless you count being gay—and he's a runner who goes for long runs every Saturday morning. When he gets home, he handcuffs his boyfriend to a chair in his kitchen, duct-tapes one of his sweaty sneakers over the boyfriend's face, and leaves him there while he has breakfast. My friend—who came to me for advice when his boyfriend confessed his fetish—isn't really into guys with sneakers duct-taped to their faces. But it gets his lover off, and isn't that what lovers are for?
Your lover has had things—she's had you—on her terms for four years, SFF, which means you're going to have to play the breakup card. It's the only leverage you have. Tell her that if she can indulge your fetish—happily and regularly—and take some pleasure in giving you pleasure, she might be "the one." If she can't or won't, she obviously isn't. (Not that "the one" is anything other than a destructive myth, but for the sake of winning this argument, go ahead and use it.)
Finally, SFF, don't let the girlfriend—or anyone else—tell you that you're threatening to end this relationship over something trivial. Sexual fulfillment is important, particularly if your relationship is exclusive. And the "triviality" of your kink cuts both ways: If your kink is so trivial, why not just indulge you then? And in a long-term relationship—or a marriage—one partner's sexual selfishness and another's sexual frustration rarely prove trivial over the long haul. They're more often grounds for divorce.
I am a 35-year-old partnered gay man, but I've been having an online conversation with a married bisexual man that has become an ongoing game of sexual dares. It's a safe form of sexual adventurism for both of us. None of our dares has involved sexual contact with another person, but some of our dares have begun to involve other people at the edges. For example, we've posted ads to Craigslist as submissives and responded to some of the replies from dominant men. None of these interactions with third parties will result in actual contact. It feels a little like we are exploiting the "flakes" aspect of Craigslist, i.e., it's common to hear from someone a few times after making contact on Craigslist and then never hear from them again. But it also feels a little like we are using these folks. Is this expansion of our game to involve other people ethical?
Concerned About Harming Craigslist Fellas
P.S. This letter is itself part of a dare. If you publish it and include a dare in the reply, I will have to fulfill that dare.
The expansion of your game to Craigslist will annoy those guys on CL who are looking for actual contact, CAHCF, but as those guys amount to something less than 0.02 percent of the men trawling Craigslist at any given moment, I wouldn't worry about it. Everyone knows that CL is overrun with flakes and game players and picture collectors; the odds that the "dominant men" you've chatted with on CL are interested in actual contact are pretty damn slim. (Guys interested in real-time BDSM play are likelier to be lurking on Recon.com or in your local hardware store.) So post at will.
P.S. I dare you to go to www.tinyurl.com/ye3otsh and take the pledge.
I'm a straight guy in my late 20s. I have a girlfriend of several years whom I live with and I love very much. I just read your most recent column, in which you used the acronyms HND (honest nonmonogamous dude) and CPOS (cheating piece of shit), and it struck a nerve. I have never been an HND; I have in the past been a CPOS (though not in this relationship). My girlfriend is lovely, supportive, and generally GGG, and though the sex is good, I have a significantly higher libido than she does and I would like to have a little more variety in my sex life. I want to be an HND, but I don't know how to broach the subject with the girlfriend without ruining our relationship. We are very open about our sex life and our relationship in general, but I think this is probably a "next level" topic that may not go over very well. How do I bring this up without screwing up our relationship beyond repair?
Aspiring Honest Nonmonogamous Dude
Based on what you've learned about yourself in past relationships, AHND, i.e., that you're a CPOS waiting to happen, I would encourage you to err on the side of screwing up your current relationship with an honest conversation about your mismatched libidos and your natural and normal desire for a little variety. Lies, damn lies, and statistics all demonstrate that, in time, one or the other or both of you will cheat. Better to toss that out there now, even at the risk of calmly winding down this relationship before you revert to form/CPOS, than to see the relationship explode after someone, most likely you, winds up cheating.
And while we're on the subject of cheating...
I suppose I'm obligated to say a few words about Tiger Woods. First, let's pretend that Elin Nordegren cheated on Tiger and that Tiger went after Elin with a golf club. Would Elin be viewed as the sole transgressor in the marriage then? Probably not. And second, daily papers and cable news outfits reacted to Tiger's "transgressions" by changing the names in the same "Why do powerful men cheat?" stories they've been pimping since Bill Clinton blew a load on a White House intern. For the millionth time: Men cheat for the same reasons women cheat, i.e., because they're bored or horny or unfulfilled or desperate to see someone else naked for a change. People cheat because monogamy isn't natural and we are wired to cheat. That doesn't make cheating right, of course; people should honor their commitments, and blah-de-nine-iron-blah. But we shouldn't encourage people to make commitments we all know they're unlikely to keep. The end.
AUCTION NOTICE: Want to answer a question or two in an upcoming column? I'm auctioning off a chance to give advice in this space to raise money for some worthy charities. Go to www .tinyurl.com/SLauction for details and to bid.
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.